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The DomNicks – Hey Rock ‘N’ Roller (Off the Hip)

4 February 2010

Here’s a mind-meld I didn’t see coming: Australian underground rock legend DOM MARIANI (STEMS, SOMELOVES, DM3, STONEAGE HEARTS) teams up with British punk & roll journeyman NICK SHEPPARD (the CORTINAS, the CLASH of Cut the Crap) to form the DOMNICKS. Eschewing both the power pop that’s Mariani’s forte and the punk with which Sheppard is most associated, the DomNicks instead explore the R&B roots of garage rock for an EP that owes as much to blue-eyed soul as stripped-down rock & roll. It’s a fine line to walk, but the band (the songwriters plus rhythm section) does it with style and substance. Sheppard proves to be a fine singer, even if he sounds unnervingly like DELBERT MCCLINTON at times, and he’s a strong writer as well, with a working-class sensibility that sets his tunes above simple garage soul retreads – cf. “Party’s Over (Part 2)” and “Busted.” Mariani contributes only two songs, but both “Honeypot” and “Already There” reaffirm what a masterful tunesmith, vocalist and guitarist he is. At only seven tracks, Hey Rock ‘N’ Rollers may feel a bit brief, but for the DomNicks it’s a kickass start.